Ravens Volleyball Rally to Clinch Playoff Spot


Courtesy of San Jacinto College Marketing, Public Relations and Government Affairs Department

The San Jacinto College Volleyball team is: (Front row, from left) Caitlin Pray, Mir Tillman, Addie Bryant, Bradyn Rice. (Second row, from left) Radka Brichackova, Madison Rhoder, Raven Oates, MarKayla Dickie, Brenna Munsch. (Back row, from left) Athletic Trainer Troy Rabon, Head Coach Sharon Nelson, Margarita Buvinic, Elena Hadzhieva, Savannah Sheridan, Moerani Marie, Haley Nelson, Assistant Coach Jeff Pearce, Student Assistant Jyoti Ruffin.

Their final season got off to a troubled start in the midst of historic Houston flooding, but the San Jacinto College volleyball team rallied to overcome the chaos and clinch a spot in the NJCAA Region XIV Tournament coming up in Carthage next month.

The Lady Ravens wrapped up the regular season with a 3-0 win against conference rival Wharton County Junior College Oct. 24 to garner a 20-4 overall record, 8-1 in conference.

“While we were displaced by Hurricane Harvey here in Houston and in our community, we lost a bit of continuity and fluidly,” Assistant Coach Jeff Pearce said. “We had to work hard to get it back.”

Partially, Pearce credits the presence of five international players on the team’s roster as a contributing factor in their overall success. Hailing from the Czech Republic, Croatia, Bulgaria, Trinidad, and the French Island of Tahiti, he noted each player brings a different perspective to the game that benefits the group as a whole.

“Many of these girls have played at a higher level in their original country, and so they bring that competitiveness to the local players at the College,” he said. “This adds to enrich the culture and the local players are able to appreciate things on a global scale.”

However, as one of the College’s four athletic programs slated for elimination at the end of the academic year, this season marks the end of San Jac’s volleyball program. But since the administration’s announcement, the team shows no signs of slowing down. Last season, San Jac went undefeated in conference play and finished with a 26-9 overall record, and this season has demonstrated no lesser commitment to winning.

“We try to advocate toughness,” he said. “We train our athletes to always strive for greatness.”

The NJCAA Region XIV Tournament takes place Nov. 3 to Nov. 5 in Carthage.


Michael Gamero contributed to this report.